A young GAA player’s heart stopped beating after he collapsed on a Derry pitch this week.

Eunan Murray (pictured above by Dessie Loughrey), 17, was playing for Faughanvale against Steelstown at the city club’s pitch at Ballyarnett on Monday evening.

However, just seconds after the final whistle, Eunan (pictured above with the ball during a previous game) fell unconscious and collapsed on the pitch as he made his way back to the changing room.

In dramatic scenes, Derry-based doctor, Angela Loftus, a member of the Steelstown club who had been watching the game, performed CPR on the young player and managed to get his heart started.

A defibrillator owned by the Steelstown club was prepared before an ambulance arrived and brought the footballer to hospital.

It is not yet known what caused the incident but the teenager, who is from Glack near Ballykelly, will travel to the Mater Hospital in Belfast tomorrow to undergo an MRI scan.

The scenes at Ballyarnett this week once again have brought into focus the issue of cardiac risks in young sports people.

Eunan’s mother, Katy, said it was terrifying to watch on as her son’s life hung in the balance.

She said she knows how fortunate they are.

“His heart stopped on the pitch and she (Angela) had to thump it to get it going again,” Katy recalled.

“We were just so relieved to get him home and we need to thank everyone at Steelstown club for all their help on the night because it might have saved him.”

Dr Loftus, who is based at Aberfoyle Medical Centre, said was a ‘surreal’ experience.

“It hits home the need to encourage training for first aiders and training in CPR,” she said.

“But there must be thanks given to NI Ambulance Service who have twice in last few weeks responded rapidly and professionally to calls from our club.

“They are invaluable and it is good for younger club members to see the work they do.”

Eunan was released from hospital late on Monday night but he knows that things could’ve ended worse if it wasn’t for Angela’s intervention.

“I’m so thankful,” he told the Derry News.

“I need to thank everybody from both clubs that helped me.

“I didn’t need the defibrillator in the end because of their work but, for others, it could save their lives.”

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